Youth Hostels History
The first youth hostel was founded by Richard Schirrmann in 1909, Germany. Schirrmann was a German teacher who organised extended field trips for his students. During one of these excursions, a sudden rainstorm forced his group to seek shelter in an empty school.
It was then that Schirrmann thought of using schools that were empty during the school holidays as guest houses for young people that were travelling the countryside in large groups. The idea caught on like wildfire, and twenty years later there were more than two thousand youth hostels across Germany.
Soon the rest of Europe caught on to the ingenuous idea, and soon it was exported to the United States. After an international conference in 1932, the International Youth Hostel Federation was born, aiming to provide budget accommodation for young travellers.
With time, the concept of budget hostels has evolved, now accepting guests of all ages while providing cheap but comfortable budget accommodation and a unique atmosphere that cannot be found in hotels.
If you plan to travel for a lengthy amount of time, invest in a good backpack that fits you comfortably. Remember – don’t go overboard in loading it, as a heavy backpack can be very painful to carry during extreme weather – when it's a hot summer or a freezing winter. And wear comfortable shoes, for you’ll need them around the clock.
Backpacker hostels most often provide you with sheets (usually at an extra cost), but you should bring your own, if you like. Some budget hostels don’t allow sleeping bags, for hygienic reasons (you might have been sleeping anywhere with a sleeping bag, and hostelling is not the same thing as camping).
No matter what the bedding, you should also bring your own soap and towels, since only some backpacker hostels provide these, usually with an extra charge.